‘Overwhelmed, overrun’: Zimbabwe tightens COVID restrictions | Coronavirus pandemic Information

Government extends curfew, bans gatherings, and closes non-essential stores as COVID-19 infections rise.

Zimbabwe has extended a nationwide curfew, banned gatherings and closed non-essential businesses for a month in an effort to curb the surge in coronavirus infections.

Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who is also health minister, said on Saturday some of the stricter restrictions were effective immediately, including a 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. curfew and a ban on travel between cities.

As of Tuesday, non-essential business would also be suspended, he said.

“People have to stay at home except to buy food and medicine or to transport sick relatives,” Chiwenga said at a press conference.

The country had 1,342 COVID-19 cases and 29 deaths in one week, the highest to date, he said.

“Only essential services such as hospitals, pharmacies and supermarkets should remain open and only essential employees are allowed to come to work,” said Chiwenga. Adding such services would have shortened working hours and would have been subject to the night curfew.

On Saturday before, government spokesman Nick Mangwana wrote on Twitter that “we are being overwhelmed and overrun by this virus”.

Chiwenga said air travel was still allowed and arrivals and returning residents would be required to provide certificates showing they are COVID-19 free.

Zimbabwe first introduced a tough lockdown in March, but had gradually eased restrictions. A total of 14,084 cases and 369 deaths were recorded.

Last week, the government postponed the reopening of schools scheduled for Monday due to an increase in coronavirus infections and a tropical storm that struck the region.

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